The Apple iPad Pro has to be the best pro tablet out there. Does the tablet as computer make any sense? With the fantastic applications available on iOS, is it any wonder you can indeed use your tablet as a computer. Yesterday I downloaded an application called Painterly and I’m thoroughly impressed with what is possible with it. In some ways it is a little bit like the application PaintCan in that you can take photos and turn them into pieces of digital art. As with many of these best pro tablet applications for photography and digital iPad art, you get a range of filters you can apply. It’s not a huge range compared to other applications with filters, but they seem quite cool to use. You also get the Splash effect, which is where you turn a colour photo to black-and-white and then just paint on the areas where you want to have the colour applied. With that you have Free Colour and you colour in whichever colour you like. Then you have Smart Colour which I found to be really good to get the blue of a sky that had a tree in the foreground. The tree stayed as black and white while the sky was all turned into blue colour. There is much more to the app than that. It’s called Painterly for a reason – Paint images on to your digital canvas to make a collage and have plenty of brush controls to do a great job of it. A good app to use alongside iColorama.
Learning to use Painterly
There is a good quick reference guide which pops up when you first get started and which you can return to any time you wish. It gives you a quick six step guide to using the application.
- Choose ground (canvas)
- Select source image from photo library or capture using built-in camera.
- Choose mode
- Start painting
- Apply enhancement filters to artwork
- Save and share your work
As you follow the process through, you’ll also be changing the source and the opacity of it as you need it for your painting. You’ll be choosing your brush patterns, configuring the brushstroke settings and selecting the filters and blend mode.
Within this informational/learning area you’ll also find tutorials and videos to help you get up and running. As with a lot of these iPad drawing and painting applications it’s good to experiment and play. You always have the undo button, so you can’t completely destroy your work. Sometimes things will work and sometimes they won’t. Your creative goal is to make choices and decisions about your image as you go. As you get more familiar with how any of these applications work you’re able to work faster and know which tools are best to use. There will always be a mixture of deliberation, deciding beforehand what you want and how you going to do it, mixed in with a certain amount of serendipity. That’s the joy of creativity!
Starting a Painterly project
In the top right corner there is a small icon that looks like a canvas on a tripod or easel. Tap on this to get a list of 15 types of background to use for your drawing. There is quite a range from the Dark Grey Canvas to the Bright White Rag Paper. You may also choose from your Photo Library to have one of your photos as a background. It is a two tap process to choose your image when I think only one tap should be needed. Then it brings you into a window where you adjust the image before using it in Painterly. Here you change lighting, colour, sharpness as well as draw on it if you wish. The drawing capabilities are not very good, but the blemish removal tool works very nicely indeed. The white tool doesn’t appear to do very much, while the focus tool gives you a choice of a radial or a linear focus that does what it is supposed to. You may also add text if you wish and crop or change the orientation of your image. The next thing to do is to add another image over the top of your desired background, whether that is the textured effects or whether you have used one of your images from your photo library.
Move it where you want it
You bring in the image you want to work with by using the plus symbol in the top left corner. You get the chance to enhance the image before you finally start working with it. At the top middle of the screen there is the word Compose which shows you, that at this point you can move the image around screen, resizing and turning it, to get it exactly where you want it. Make all the adjustments to get the picture in the right place, tap on the word Compose and then choose Paint. Use the Apple Pencil or whatever stylus you use to draw over the image to painted onto your canvas. You may need to adjust the opacity of your source so you can see it better. Wherever you paint using your Apple Pencil on the best pro tablet for artists you will get your source image appearing on the screen. I’m finding that there is a certain amount of lag, and more so when the brush is larger and the problem is not due to the Apple Pencil. I tested other styli and I just got the same amount of lag. To see what your image is looking like you’ll see there is an icon looking like a pair of spectacles in the bottom menu, tap on this to get a full-screen view of your work. In the settings for the brush you can choose from 66 different brush shapes and you may also choose the size and opacity. There is another setting area for the brush in the left pop-up menu called Stroke. In this setting you can change the shape and size of the brush with more finesse. You can tell it to randomise the scale of the brush as well as choose the rotation of the brush shape. There is a switch on there to have a brush cursor and I think that is best left on, so you can see where it is you are painting. If you have chosen to randomise the shape and size of the brush you will see the oval of the cursor changing as you move it across the screen.
Creative ways of using Painterly
The application is really very good if you want to make a collage from various images. Just set your background and then bring in the images one at a time to paint them in. You have enough control with the brush despite its lag to get images positioned correctly. Painterly is useful where you’d like to overlay a texture on top of a photo or painting. You can set the Render with two filter positions and a blend mode. You will get different effects by changing the settings for the brush and you can change these effects as you go.
Careful using the eraser mode
There doesn’t seem to be a way to protect an area you have already completed. Because of this you need to be careful if you are having a second session of painting a source into your canvas. If it’s right next to something else you have already drawn and you go over you might think you can erase. You can erase, but it is likely you also remove parts of your previous drawing. It is a pain to have to reset up the image again to redo an edge you’ve rubbed out. The first option is, to take caution and be careful when drawing next to areas you have been working on. The second option would be to save your painting you’ve done so far to the camera roll and bring it back in again as a new starting point background.
Overview of Painterly On the Best Pro Tablet
Painterly is a useful application to have in your artist toolbox on the iPad Pro. When in use with the Apple Pencil you’ll find it’s easy-to-use your tablet as computer. When brushing with a larger brush it can be a little bit laggy. It is still usable despite this and it is when you’re using a smaller brush that you really do need to have it more accurate. I’m hoping that this is a part of the application that will improve over time. Painterly is great for making a collage of images. You see a reduced opacity of the image you want in your painting on the screen and you paint it in. There is a lot of room within the application for iPad art creativity and I can thoroughly recommend it.